Caution | Outdoor water restrictions in effect

Stage 3 outdoor water restrictions are in effect. Learn more about how City services are impacted and what you can do during this stage.

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Ward 2 - Jennifer Wyness

Water Safety in Calgary

With the summer season approaching and warm weather in the forecast, we are connecting with residents to make sure everyone knows how to be safe while enjoying outdoor water activities.

Calgary has a great collection of lakes and waterways that are available for everyone to enjoy, but it’s important to be cautious when venturing onto Calgary’s waterways. Many of these locations are unsupervised and can have fast-moving water, like the Bow River. Even community lakes still pose hazards, so it’s important that you and your family are prepared. Whether you are swimming, canoeing, kayaking, paddle boarding, or boating, make sure to plan ahead and know all the guidelines for enjoying Calgary’s waterways.

To ensure a safe experience, the following guidelines are recommended before heading out on Calgary’s waterways:

  • Scout the area: Make sure to assess potential hazards and check weather and water conditions. There are often dangers like debris, rocks, or concrete hidden beneath the surface of the water.
  • Assess the danger level: Evaluate the swimming and paddling skills of your group, monitor conditions closely and avoid the rivers during high-flow advisories. Calgarians can check the flow rates by visiting Remember: currents can be unpredictable, even in relatively calm waters.
  • Make necessary preparations: Ensure your watercraft is suitable for the chosen waterway and meets weight capacity requirements. Have proper paddles or oars to maintain control and navigate around bridge pillars. Remember to provide correctly fitting lifejackets or personal flotation devices for everyone in the watercraft and carry a boat safety kit.
  • Calgarians are urged to adhere to all parking signage and park only in designated areas.
  • Calgarians are asked to refrain from occupying boat launch areas unless launching their boats. This ensures the Calgary Fire Department can swiftly access the launches in emergencies.
  • Be mindful of the Bow River’s course and features, like the Harvie Passage and the standing waves near the 10 Street Bridge. This is a high-risk area, with many hidden dangers like rocks and concrete under the water. It is best to avoid this area and keep to calmer waters.
  • And finally, don’t forget that it is illegal to operate any boat or vessel while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Throughout the summer, law enforcement officials from the Calgary Police Service and Community Standards will be patrolling Calgary’s rivers to make sure municipal bylaws and provincial regulations are being followed. By following these regulations, you are keeping yourself and others safe.

Remember: Where there's water, there's risk. Safety is important on not only fast-moving water like the Bow River, but also on calm waters like community lakes.

For more information and water safety resources, visit

Categories: General, Safety